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28 April 2009

Workshop in Warsaw - Regional Cooperation and EU Accession

BIRN - BIH project manager was among media representatives from five countries in the region who took part in a workshop held in Warsaw, Poland.

Anisa Suceska Vekic, Project Manager with the BIRN Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina, participated in the workshop on "The Balkans - between history and European Union", organized by the Center for International Relations in Warsaw from April 21 to 25 this year.

The Center is a think tank based in Warsaw. It is implementing a project financed by the European Commission, whose goal is to share the EU integration experience of Poland, with media representatives from Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The project focuses on the quantity, quality and access to information about EU expansion. Its two main goals are transferring knowledge and strengthening capacities of the Western Balkans media. Project participants will now work on developing strategies and techniques for communication between the EU and the general public.

The Warsaw Workshop represented the first step in implementing this project. Participants were drawn from the most relevant media outlets in the five countries. During the Workshop, participants had a chance to acquaint themselves with public life in Poland, as well as to meet prominent people, including journalists and policy-makers who were particularly active on the public stage when the Central European countries were preparing to join the EU.

The Workshop allowed people working in the Polish media to share with participants positive and negative experiences of reporting EU issues and preparing the public for the country's EU accession, and to share successes and failures experienced during the accession process.

The Workshop served as a basis for establishing a network of media outlets in the Balkans that will cooperate and exchange their own experiences pertaining to reporting on and preparing the public for the European integration process in the future.

In the upcoming period, workshops will be held in each of the five countries. A study tour to Brussels and a final regional conference to be held at the European Parliament will help recapitulate the project results.

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